Greatest Un-Hits: Thicke’s “When I Get You Alone” (2002)

Written by Greatest Un-Hits, Music

A look at songs that aren’t necessarily good or bad, merely ones that, because of the climate of the music world during their release, somehow, someway, were not the massive hit songs they should logically have been.

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“Robin Thicke”‘s first album came out in late 2006…but he first emerged in 2002 as Thicke. The son of cheesy sitcom star Alan Thicke and soap star/soft rock singer Gloria Loring, he took the pop in his blood (his dad wrote the Facts of Life theme song, and his mom sang it) and ran with it, mixing a huge, extraordinarily incendiary and passionate to the point of aching classic soul crooner voice, with ultra-clean production and sampling (of Walter Murphy’s “A Fifth of Beethoven”), to make something truly special, his debut single “When I Get You Alone.” It’s sexy, sexual, and pleading. All in all, the perfect metric for a hit song…but maybe not in 2002 when Americans thought Nelly was the shit.

The song got heavy “new artist one should pay attention to” airplay on MTV2 and BET. But the song just didn’t click with the public – the song failed to make any chart in the U.S., although it was a top 10 hit in New Zealand. Hobbits love nu soul and Growing Pains.

Thicke became one of the few acts to change his name after widespread public exposure, adding in his first name so he registered as the solo performer he was, not the ’80s hair band “Thicke” suggested. (He also shaved off his long hair and most of his beard so he looked less like old time Jesus, and more like boy band Jesus.) He then went on to a massively successful career in R&B, toning down the hip hop and samples to focus more on the panty-dropping slow jamz. His second single as Robin Thicke, “Lost Without U” became one of the biggest R&B hits ever, spending 11 weeks atop the Billboard R&B chart. I mean, it’s good, but it’s nowhere near as kickass as “When I Get You Alone.”

Coda: “When I Get You Alone” finally became a hit song, albeit a minor one, a couple of weeks ago. One of the singin’ kids on Glee sang it, and it was released as a single and it debuted and peaked at #47.